Featured Artist - Samantha Lindberg
Our guest today is an avid adventurer, enthusiastic explorer, and fortunately for us, a fascinating photographer to boot. She not only exudes exuberance, but personifies passion as she nobly navigates the North Shore and tirelessly traverses through troublesome terrain. All alliteration aside, Samantha is an incredibly genuine person who builds community as an ambassador for the Minnesota chapter of Women Who Explore; maintains a resource filled blog for like minded outdoor enthusiasts; perpetually keeps up a strikingly clean Instagram feed; and who happens to enjoy long walks on the beach (or hiking trails or anywhere else there is a shot waiting to be discovered) alongside her lovable canine companion, Leo. With all of that said, it is our great pleasure to present the one and only Samantha Lindberg.
Alright, the first one is an easy one (or is it?)… simply tell us who is Samantha Lindberg? Where did she come from? How did she get here? And how is it that she happened to get into photography in the first place?
Definitely the hardest question one for me, but hey I’m gonna give it my best! My name is Samantha and I am a 22-year-old photographer based out of Duluth, Minnesota. I moved to Duluth at the end of August. Originally, I am from New Richmond, Wisconsin where I commuted to Century College and studied Photography and Social Media Marketing.
Throughout my K12 school years, I was always involved in some sort of art class or theatre program. Then after high school, I went to Century for photography where I learned a lot on the back end of how to manage a business and work with clients. Working with clients such as families, engagements, and weddings definitely something that gets my adrenaline going and I “snap right into the moment”.
While in college my professor was really into backpacking and often shared stories of his time on the trail. That initially sparked my interest in exploring the outdoors on a deeper more involved level. After my first backpacking trip, I was hooked and felt compelled to capture all of the beauty on the trail. Little did I know at that time my passion for landscape photography would continue to grow deeper.
All of this beforehand built up to a huge turning point in my life where I chose to have adventuring and photography consume all of me. About less than two years I was engaged and eventually, it turned into a very unhealthy relationship. Mentally once that was over I was drained and I knew I needed to refocus my energy on something else, so just out of the blue I decided to make a weekend trip up to the North Shore. From that moment forward I was hooked on just being able to hop in my car and practically drive wherever I wanted. Hearing the snow crunch beneath me, the cold breeze across my face, and listening to the waves crash into shore all gave me the feeling of serenity which was something I could hold onto. Something I desperately needed at that time. Ever since the outdoors and photography have pretty much become my life! Exploring and photography gave me the strength and purpose that I needed to move forward to believe in and love myself more than I have ever before. Since then I have had more self-love for myself than ever before and let me tell you it’s the greatest thing ever!
I share this with you not because I want pity or anything from the situation, but to encourage those of you who may or may not be in a relationship to focus on self-love. You deserve it! Trust me it’s a great thing!
At the beginning of this year, you unleashed a new site onto the world and decided to include a blog section that you have been fairly vigilant about contributing to...what made you want to start a blog? Who do you write articles for and what are your goals for the site/blog?
When I launched my site I wanted to have it be more dynamic than just being a place where people go and purchase images. This is why I include such a wide range of topics on my blog including everything from travel advice, personal stories, photography tips, etc… As for my audience, right now I am mainly writing about things that intrigue me. Personally, writing has always been something that I have always struggled with, so it's nice to have something that challenges me each week and if I'm able to inspire, educate, or entertain anyone along that way… GREAT!! :)
Within this next year, I will be releasing two more series of images for my “Summer” and “Fall” collections. I have been putting in a lot of time for the release of the Summer collection which will include a mix of spring and summer images. This collection will be released yet this month! I know I am no expert, but within this year I want to focus on having my site be a place where amateur photographers can come to learn more about photography.
What has been the biggest challenge since launching the blog? And the biggest triumph?
The biggest challenge since launching would have to be working out minor technical and aesthetics of the site. Thankfully, my good friend Jake Heitman is dedicated and educated in coding and has helped me fix those aspects of the site. Other than that, everything has just been a matter of trial and error. Personally, my biggest triumph would have to be sticking to my goal of posting to my blog once a week. It’s also a great feeling when others reach out in response to blogs that I have written.
What are some of the ideas you have for possible future posts?
Before I started my blog I had a whole list of ideas I wanted to write about. I have quickly gone through that list, but ideas are continually coming to mind. Some future posts could include:
Lightroom Tips and Tricks
How To Prepare Before Going Out Photographing
Fun Facts About Leo
I'm also open to suggestions so feel free to send them my way!
A lot of times we like to ask the question “what is in your gear bag?” but since you have already written a piece on that for your own blog… how about letting us in on the 1 or 2 items you wish were in your bag that just aren’t there yet?
Oh geez I could get sucked into a rabbit hole of a whole list of things I wish I had, but I try to be pretty practical with what investments I make. However, one thing that has been on my mind for a while now has been a drone. I plan to learn more and improve my video editing skills and would love to use it for aerial video clips and occasional images.
Perusing through your site it looks like you have already tackled a somewhat broad range of topics, from photography to travel to gear and a variety of others as well. The one that caught our eye though was a post about road tripping in which you recommended a couple of different pre-planned meal options including… and I mean to each their own, but… a tortilla with tuna and hot sauce?!! Is this for real? And how does one stumble onto a combination like that in the first place?
Haha yes, this is FOR REAL and worth a try! When I first got into backpacking I watched a lot of youtube videos regarding meal preparation and so many other backpackers recommended this combo because it's lightweight and packed with protein. At first, I was very skeptical because I would NEVER eat tuna except for tuna salad. My favorite is the Garlic and Herb tuna packet on a tortilla with Valentina hot sauce. I know I'm weird.
Seriously though, when road tripping what is your go-to convenience store indulgence?
I have a huge weakness for Kit-Kats! If I'm not hitting up the convenience store then my other big indulgence is Subway! Spicy Italian on flatbread all the way!
Would you mind telling us a little about Leo, your trusty adventure companion?
Oh, Leo, he is honestly my rock and keeps me going!! He is a Mini Australian Shepard and I have had him ever since he was a puppy. He just turned three this month! Since a young pup he has been coming along on all my adventures and he takes everything like a champ. I honestly don't think he has a fear of anything. For those who have met Leo, they would tell you that he will likely bark at first, but once you give him attention and pet him he will make you his best friend and beg for more attention.
Who is Roaming Ruby and how did she get her name?
Miss Roaming Ruby is my vehicle which is a red Jeep Cherokee. I've never named a vehicle of mine before but it felt fitting with this one since its one I really like. When I was thinking of names I put out a suggestions tab on my Instagram stories and got a lot of good suggestions. One suggestion that stuck with me was Ruby which was suggested actually by my friend Emily Siefkes. Ruby by itself felt a little incomplete and one day it just came to me, Roaming Ruby.
More than most of the other photographers we have had the pleasure of interviewing thus far, you tend to do a fair number of candid Instagram stories sharing your experiences with your follower's first hand in an articulate stream of consciousness like style… how did you get so comfortable in front of a camera when it seems like so many photographers prefer to hide behind the lens?
In part, I think some of it comes with being involved in theater and with that, it forced me to become more comfortable in front of larger audiences. Also, at the time that I began to share more of my experiences through stories, I was in a public speaking class, which made me aware of a lot of my speaking tendencies. So I just kind of forced myself in front of the camera as a way to practice. Of course, we are all human and I goof up which is okay!
Additionally, I also feel like it is a way for others to connect with me on a deeper level than just beyond arranged square images on Instagram. I'm not afraid to be authentically imperfect.
What is your favorite thing about being a photographer in Minnesota? Favorite place to shoot? And favorite season?
Favorite thing is living just a few minutes from Lake Superior because the weather can change so quickly with the “Lake Effect” especially in the winter. Oh boy, that's a toughie! There are SO MANY good spots, but I would have to say Temperance River I love the gorges and trails along the river. Plus it's not very far from Lutsen! I wouldn't be living in the midwest if I didn't like the changing of seasons because each season offers something to love about it. However, it's a hard tie between fall and winter for my favorite.
What has been your favorite place to shoot outside of the Minnesota North Shore?
Easily the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Winter camping or car camping – which do you prefer given the choice?
I’ve never really been hardcore winter camping and the “winter camping” that I have done has also been close to my vehicle. Given the choice, I would love to try winter camping in the Boundary waters.
Since sometime around the middle of December you have been sticking to a rather rigorous routine of alternating stark white images with more heavily hued shots giving your Instagram grid a bit of a checkerboard theme. Do you find the structure of having to plan out your grid to be limiting in any way or, alternatively, do you find it to be at all freeing versus simply posting any shot willy nilly without any regard for the overall IG tableau?
At times it can be limiting and there have been some images that I haven't posted because they don't fit. However, on the flip side, it is very freeing creating my grid to have a more comprehensive look.
One of your recent articles listed Lutsen as a perfect winter getaway destination… What would you say is your favorite part about skiing in the marvelous Minnesotan mountain range?
By no means am I a good skier, but my favorite part was going off the groomed trails into the fresh powder! Yes, I fell… a lot and it took me a long time to get down, but it was still a blast!
The day after you agreed to do this article with us you officially announced to the world that you had become an ambassador for the Minnesota chapter of Women Who Explore. What kinds of activities do you have planned for this group and how can other, like minded ladies get involved?
Yes! I am very EXCITED about this! Obviously, with the current situation of things, certain events can’t be held, so those will have to wait until further notice.
Events I have planned for the future include:
State Park campfires
Hiking Sections of the Superior Hiking Trail
Community clean up
You recently participated in a somewhat large meetup of photographers along the North Shore and in addition to Women Who Explore Minnesota you have also been venturing out with the likes of our fellow photo friends Emily Siefkes and Ashley Bredemus... clearly community is something you believe in. What is it that makes the MN photo community so special and what does it mean to you?
What makes the MN photo community and maybe even a few who venture from Wisconsin so special is that we all realize that we share a common interest in capturing and adventuring the beautiful state we live in. As a community of photographers and outdoor enthusiasts, I think that it’s very IMPORTANT that we recognize that we can’t take what we have for granted and that the land needs to be respected abiding by the Leave No Trace Principles.
When I first moved to Duluth Minnesota, I barely knew anyone, so being able to meet others in the outdoor/photography community assured me that Duluth is a place I could see myself living potentially long term. Emily Siefkes was the first person I met from the North Shore on Instagram!
Being that I see myself staying for a long time I want to surround myself with communities such as North Shore Photographers and Women Who Explore Minnesota because when good people get together they can do great things for the community, personal well beings, and such!
Do you ever feel competitive amidst the camaraderie when shooting with others?
Not necessarily, I often find myself wandering off if I end up finding something that catches my eye. Otherwise, I'm just out to have a good time, possibly learn from others, and enjoy the moment with like-minded people.
How much prep and planning do you put into scouting a location before you go out and shoot?
The most planning and scouting I put into an image is when it's for the milky way. With the milky way there is just a brief window of time that is prime to capture it, so knowing of potential places that would work is important. In my free time, I do a lot of “scouting” on google maps for potential places to check out. Otherwise when it's midday and I'm out hiking I always think to myself would this be a good spot for sunrise, sunset, milky way, etc…
You recently posted your first attempt at star trails (incredible btw)… what did you learn from the experience? Is there anything you would do differently next time?
It was obviously not your first time out shooting astrophotography… how long have you been into astro? What is your favorite part about shooting the stars? And least favorite?
Thank you!!! Well, the biggest thing I learned is that I need to make sure that my intervalometer is actually plugged into my camera so it works! HAHA! For the image that I posted it was several five-minute exposures, but next time I think I will do shorter exposures. By doing shorter exposures the whole image is less likely to be ruined and easier to recover if something like headlights or something similar flashes or enters the scene.
A few years ago I was in Glacier National Park when I attempted my first milky way image. To get where I wanted to be I had to cross a river to get on the island in the middle of it. In the midst of taking the image, I heard something ruffling around in the woods and was terrified it was going to come out and get me! After a few images, I quickly ran back to my vehicle. Last year around this time of year is when I started intentionally going out for the milky way again.
Hands down my favorite thing about Astro is how calming, but thrilling it can be at the same time! You’re out in the middle of the night basically just with a headlamp and you don't know what kind of critters may be out there so it's important to be prepared and knowledgeable of self-defense. Least favorite is the gamble you play with clouds potentially ruining the image.
A mutual friend of ours has described you as a Disney princess come to life... specifically she revealed to us that she thinks you would be Elsa because you “want to build a snowman” (and we would add that it seems like “the cold never bothers you anyway” and a part of you “longs to go into the unknown”) How do you feel about this comparison and if you could choose any fictional character to become who would it be?
Awe this person is just a sweetheart! ;) and I'm TOTALLY OKAY with this comparison and honestly, I think I would have to go with Elsa after you point out all the comparisons! ;)
Are you a sunset or sunrise kind of person?
Waking up can be hard sometimes but sunrises over Lake Superior are always worth it!
What’s your favorite place to hike? Favorite waterfall?
You can’t go wrong with the Superior Hiking Trail! Favorite waterfall… I have so many favorites! It's like asking me to pick my favorite pet. They all have their personalities and why they are my favorite!
For real though, but not necessarily to photograph I like wandering around the rapids at Jay Cooke State Park in the summer. I wouldn't recommend this though as it can be pretty dangerous.
Do you hold your breath when passing through the Silver Creek Cliff Tunnel?
Should I be? haha
What do you do when you’re not out shooting? (Any hobbies, favorite shows, play any musical instruments, etc.)
Don’t laugh, okay I don't care if you do, but I just got a TV for my place less then a month ago! I'm not much of a tv watcher. At one point though I was hooked on the Good Doctor and 911.
Musically talented… not a chance. I admire those who are though!
Being outdoors is my main hobby I guess you could say! I like fishing, camping, hiking… oh, backpacking is the best! In my opinion.
A few weeks ago I bought cross country skis, so let's hope I can improve on that more next winter!
It's been a while since I've oil painted, but it’s something I'm getting back into!
Do you happen to have a favorite photo you’ve ever taken?
Not necessarily a favorite photo, but a favorite from each season. If you can’t tell by now I’m terrible at picking favorites! My favorite summer image would have to be when I was in the Boundary Waters over the Fourth of July last summer and we paddled to this little island for sunset on a gloomy day. I said that it was going to light up later that evening and what do you know?! IT HAPPENED! This image will be for sale in my next collection release.
A little backstory on the image: I went out into the water far enough away with my camera and tripod so I could capture the whole island with the canoe. At one point I looked down and saw several leeches swimming towards me and went screaming back to the island for safety the fastest I could! At some point, I had a leech on my foot and when I got home it got inflamed and I had to go to the doctor for some antibiotics because it just kept getting worse and hurt badly… now I have a fear of leeches.
Who are your heroes? (Photography or otherwise)
Jenna Kutcher (Expert on online marketing)
Brene Brown (Great books on vulnerability, courage, shame, & authenticity)
Nick Page (Landscape Photographer)
What adventures are on your bucket list that you haven’t yet had the pleasure of experiencing?
Short term I want to take a road trip all the way around Lake Superior and Section hike the entire Superior Hiking Trail (Hopefully at some point this year…)
A few other places I would love to adventure in the future include: Iceland, Peru, & Argentina (specifically Patagonia)
What’s one piece of advice you would offer someone who is just starting out as a photographer? As a blogger?
Go for it! Live to your fullest versus wishing you would have done something once it's too late! We all start somewhere and can only build up further from our starting points.
This one comes from our previous featured person of interest Christian Dalbec who would like to know … Pick-up camper or a tow-behind?
Pick-up all the way! That way you can just pick-up and go! ;) No pun intended.
What one question would you ask our next featured guest? (Anything you like… may or may not be a photographer and the more ridiculous the better)
Green Olives on pizza?
Time to pay it forward... who else would you like to see featured on this blog?
Nathan Klok (nklokphoto)
Amanda Taivalkoski (amandeliini)
Thank you so much for your time.